Ocean Therapy on our Doorstep

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

This post was written by author, coach, speaker and advocate, Danielle Dobson.

Ocean Therapy

Growing up in the Yarra Valley in Victoria and having access to the outdoors, I thought the bush

was my home space.

I loved building outdoor cubbies with my brothers and friends, going on adventures along the

abandoned rail track and riding my bike along the local trails.

After living in bustling cities all over the world for most of my adult life I found myself relocating

from the US to Thirroul with my young family in 2007.

I have faced many life-defining challenges over the past decade including a high-stress

relocation to Beijing for a year, a marriage break-up, re-building my identity, ensuring my three

kids are well supported as I raise them with their dad living oversees and minimal family


Through it all, the ocean has provided relief, release and renewal.

Swimming in the Austinmer pool one time when things were particularly tough, I reached the

end of the pool, looked out into the vastness of the ocean and in that moment, was struck by the

smallness of my problems.

The ocean also helps all of us (my sons and I) to appreciate the power of nature. Witnessing the

storms and the havoc it creates along the shoreline and in the ocean itself, then to see how

nature repairs and renews, helps us understand about ourselves.

Recognising we are a part of nature, we can learn that nothing is permanent and the storms will

pass and after the storm there is calm and a clarity.

The ocean has also been a great source of physical therapy too. Following a calf tear during a

hockey game in 2014, my Physio banned me from running and while I rehabilitated he

suggested swimming in the ocean.

Coming from the Yarra Valley, the thought of swimming in the cool ocean temperatures in May

filled me with dread. However, I wanted to get back on the hockey field and back to running so I

braced myself and started doing laps at the local ocean pool.

Not only has it been a life-changing new practice but I was back playing hockey in four weeks,

three weeks earlier than the Physio estimated.

So the injury resulted in an incredible upside!

The feeling of swimming in the ocean all year round is amazing and I have not looked back.

Another part of the ocean therapy is speaking with local regular swimmers. I have found that

each ocean pool has colourful characters who follow a regular routine.

I know if I go to the Austi pool at 8am I will see Jenny, Maureen and Rob. If I’m earlier, I will see

Michael, Fred and John. I have learned so much from my conversations with the regulars and it has been an integral part of building community bonds.

I have even left my swimming cap and goggles behind and had them delivered to my post box.

We’re so luck here in Wollongong to have the ocean on our doorstep, and to have access to

such beautiful, free, ocean pools.

Danielle Dobson is an author, coach, speaker and advocate. You can find out more in Danielle’s

new book, Breaking the Gender Code - which shows women how they can use what they

already have, to get what they actually want. In her book, Danielle gives practical and informed

tips on how to rewrite the gender code which creates pressures and limits our potential as

women, and provides tools and strategies to create individual solutions for your unique context.

Find out more at www.codeconversations.com.au

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